On 18 November 2020, the Irish High Court appointed Kieran Wallace of KPMG as interim examiner to a number of companies in the Norwegian Air Group. The petition to affirm the appointment is scheduled to be heard in December.
Examinership is Ireland's corporate rescue process and is analogous in many ways to US Chapter 11. It involves a court-sanctioned moratorium on creditor action to enable a scheme of arrangement to be formulated and implemented.
To gain access to the process, a company must (i) be, or likely to be, insolvent and (ii) have a reasonable prospect of survival for the whole or part of its undertaking as a going concern.
Once in the process, a company is effectively immune from creditor action for the period of the moratorium during which the examiner investigates the company's financial position and seeks investment to fund a scheme of arrangement to address the company's debt.
The scheme that is formulated is subject to approval by creditors and sanction by the High Court and it is possible for both secured and unsecured creditors to be crammed down under its terms. However, in examining the scheme, the court must be satisfied that no creditors' interests are being unfairly prejudiced by it. Once sanctioned by the court, the examiner's scheme is binding on all creditors, including those who objected to its terms.
The Norwegian Air Group's examinership will be of significant interest to its lessors, lenders and other creditors.